By Anjali Nayak
I don’t know whether it is cynicism or Stockholm syndrome from being single, but I am a closeted hopeless romantic. I’ve always thought that romance movies were complete garbage — poor acting, even worse plot — and I’ve never dreamed of a magical fairytale ending. Love is hardly ever on my mind, and when it is, the feeling runs in short sprints with long cooldowns.
But reading Pride and Prejudice over the summer made me reckon with my hopeless romanticism. Through Jane Austen’s personable characters and sharp tone, lines that would otherwise make my eyes roll prompted deep kicks of giddy affection.
However, Pride and Prejudice’s charm is not in its addictive daydreaming, but rather in its poignant realism. The book portrays romance not as immediate, forever bliss, but rather as a reckoning with one’s ego. Realizing the inevitability of dependency forces characters to understand the out of hand aspects of life — there are few things that are in our own control.
Love is humbling. Both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet must overcome the titular sins of pride and prejudice in order to accept love as well as to love others. For lack of a better phrase, both characters have to simply “get over themselves.” Vulnerability is an important aspect of human nature, and Austen makes it clear that the ability to accept aid is a constant struggle. But it is necessary. Ego has no place in love.
What makes the relationship between Darcy and Bennet so special is that once they have triumphed over pride and prejudice, they are both working to be the best version of themselves in order to make the relationship work. Pride and Prejudice portrays love not just as a stepping stone in life, but rather as an opportunity to grow as a human being.